One reliable preview. One key factor to decide the game. It's that simple.
Air & Ground matchup of Week 8
Green Bay Packers at New Orleans Saints (Sunday, 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC) -- All signs point to an offensive shootout Sunday night in the Superdome.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is on an impressive three-game run. In four consecutive games, Rodgers has thrown for three or more touchdowns and not been intercepted (Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are the only other quarterbacks in NFL history to accomplish that). If Rodgers continues that streak through Sunday night, he will be the first quarterback in NFL history to do so. In addition, Rodgers is the only player in NFL history with at least 18 touchdown passes and one or no interceptions through his team's first seven games of a season.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees has actually enjoyed better numbers in his face-to-face encounters with Rodgers. In three such matchups, Brees has thrown for 10 touchdowns with no interceptions and a passer rating of 122.5 (by contrast, Rodgers has nine touchdowns, four interceptions and a 102.5 passer rating).
One impact player
Jimmy Graham has otherworldly talents for a tight end, and his impact on the field is a massive benefit for Brees. When Graham is on the field, Brees' completion percentage is nearly 10 points higher, he has eight touchdown passes compared to just three when Graham is not on the field, and his passer rating is astronomically higher at 101.9 compared to 69.0 when Graham is on the sidelines.
Great Moments in Air & Ground History
Packers 42, Saints 34 (Week 1 of 2011 season) -- The champions of the previous two Super Bowls -- the Packers and Saints -- kicked off the 2011 season in thrilling fashion with a high-scoring game that came down to a valiant goal-line stand by the Packers' defense to win the game. Along the way, the two teams combined for 876 yards of total offense, with 692 of those yards coming via the most likely form of offensive transportation for both teams ... the forward pass. Brees threw for 419 yards and three touchdowns. Rodgers threw for 312 yards and three touchdowns. A year later, the two teams would meet again, with the Packers winning, 28-27. In that game, Rodgers threw for 319 yards and four touchdowns, while Brees went for 446 yards and three touchdowns.
Follow Jim Reineking on Twitter @jimreineking.